Work and Play: Pic Monkey and Between


I’m trying to think of creative ways to spread the word about TGWIG’s reviews and also remind people to preorder it on Amazon, so I have a chance at hitting the Amazon bestseller list on my release day.

I’ve seen other authors use a cool photo with a short blurb and the title and release date.

I’m not graphic design great or terribly tech savvy, but I’m good at tinkering and figuring things out.

I remembered reading about sites where I could do this a while back. I’ve almost exhausted my budget for graphic design work, so I thought, hmmm, maybe this is something I can take on.

I googled it. Pic Monkey came up. That name rang a bell from an article I’d read.

I have to use my own photos, but luckily I have 70k photos on my external hard drive that I took over the years. The challenge was finding an image that went with the blurb.

Then playing with it until it was really cool looking. Pic Monkey is free and has some really amazing things it can do to a photo.

My first attempt was awful. It took over an hour and it was hideous. But it wasn’t time wasted because I was learning how to use Pic Monkey.

The photo above is my second attempt. It’s a beach in Old Saybrook, CT. The town of Wright is loosely based on it. This is my third attempt:

RFblurb image

That was a cool mausoleum door in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in NY. Since my story is a YA time travel murder mystery I loved the hour glass image.

This was a really cool combo of work and play. I love photography and I’ve never played with the effects before and I got to create these promo pics for the book.

I’m also hard at work on the sequel to TGWIG. I’m laying down the first draft this summer. I drafted 100 pages in 10 days which is my most ambitious drafting schedule to date. Writing 10 pages a day while promoting and having a part time job was definitely a challenge.

I do see the pros of writing fast though. I don’t have time to dawdle or be uncertain. It’s gotta happen. And things get said a few times because I’m not sure where exactly they work best, but the bones are getting laid down and eventually re-arranged properly.

I’m doing a 3 day edit and then Tuesday I’m on to drafting the dreaded middle. I think I should be able to knock that out before ReaderCon.



(This is also the door I used for the cool blue pic above)

Please remember to get your entries in to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest. There are only 3.5 weeks left until the contest closes to entries!


Between–Netflix does it again! It recommends stuff and I usually love it. Between is this sci-fi thriller about a town under quarantine because everyone over 22 suddenly starts dying. Within a month there is no one over 22 left.

It’s a really fascinating study of character because how people behave in these kinds of situations is really revealing. After 5 episodes I’m addicted. And I have to wait for episode 6.



I have two free audiobook codes left if anyone (either US or UK is willing to trade an honest review for a free copy of The Six Train to Wisconsin’s audiobook. Just comment below with your email and make sure to say you want to trade an honest review for an audiobook, then I will send you the free audiobook. This will go to the first two commenters who do this.


What have you been up to for work and play?

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